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Boy Scouts give new look to old Clinton Cemetery

The Clinton Cemetery now boasts a welcoming sign and information kiosk constructed as an Eagle Scout project. At left is one of the two benches that comprised another Eagle Scout project. The public will have a good chance to view the new additions at the 11 a.m. Memorial Day ceremony.  - Jim Larsen / The Record
The Clinton Cemetery now boasts a welcoming sign and information kiosk constructed as an Eagle Scout project. At left is one of the two benches that comprised another Eagle Scout project. The public will have a good chance to view the new additions at the 11 a.m. Memorial Day ceremony.
— image credit: Jim Larsen / The Record

After countless hours and lots of hard work, Boy Scouts Steven Smith and Brent Piehler are close to accomplishing their goal. They are just a few steps away from achieving the highest ranking in Boy Scouts, Eagle Scout. The “eagle” has almost landed.

Sophomore Steven Smith has been involved in Boy Scouts for five years. For his project, Smith built two benches for the cemetery in Clinton. The project took several weeks to complete. A handful of people helped each time during the four work parties he held.

Smith feels that his Eagle Scout project will benefit the community.

“It will be a lot better for people who go to visit their loved ones,” Smith said. “Before there weren’t any benches at all. So older people that come and visit can have a place to sit down.”

Smith has learned the value of leadership through his project.

“Being a leader is a lot more than bossing people around,” Smith said.

Smith had to talk with people to get funding for his project. This was achieved through fundraisers as well as donations.

To get an Eagle Scout project approved, a scout must first get their local troop together and present an idea. The troop can give input on what can be improved as well as changes. After the troop’s approval, the scout goes up to the district council to present his idea there. After approval from the district council, the scout can then begin his project.

Smith thought of the idea for benches during a Memorial Day flag raising in the Clinton Cemetery last year. He noticed that there was no seating.

Boy Scouts have played a major role in Smith’s life. Grace Swanson photos | Steven Smith, above, and Brent Piehler are close to becoming Eagle Scouts thanks to there work at the Clinton Cemetery.

“It builds character,” Smith said. “It helps you develop leadership skills and figure out what you like to do.”

Smith also believes that Boy Scouts has helped him try new things that he might have otherwise not tried at all.

Sophomore Brent Piehler also completed his Eagle Scout project in the Clinton Cemetery. He built a sign and information kiosk to give the history of the cemetery.

Piehler feels his project will benefit the community.

“Before, nobody knew where the Clinton Cemetery was,” Piehler said. “When the Boy Scouts went down there on Veterans Day to raise the flag, nobody knew it was there because there was just a mailbox with ‘Clinton Cemetery’ on the side. Now you can see it from the road.”

Piehler’s project has taught him a valuable life lesson.

“It’s important to give back to the community instead of just accepting,” Piehler said.

It has given him leadership skills as well. 

Piehler organized two work parties to complete his project. The project took about two months to complete, around 52 hours. He says that completing the project means a lot to him.

Boy Scouts has provided Piehler with many important skills that can benefit him as a person as well as the community, he said.

“You can give back and you can do community service time,” Piehler said. “To become an Eagle Scout you have to do over five hours of community service time.”

Roy Simmons, Clinton Cemetery committee president, said that Smith’s and Piehler’s projects have benefited the cemetery and he expressed appreciation for their efforts.

The Clinton Cemetery, run by a non-profit organization, has been a churchyard cemetery outside St. Peter’s Lutheran Church a little over 100 years. Projects like Piehler’s and Smith’s can update the cemetery as well as help improve it.

Now people have a place to sit and can see the name from the road.

Their projects not only help the boys achieve their Eagle Scout rankings, but help families for years to come.

 

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